Opinion: Stop with the conspiracies

“Madmen and butchers have no place in the 21st century, and as America continues to face a very uncertain future, we must not turn a blind eye.”

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul is a sophomore political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

I’ve dedicated myself to America’s political process, and people know it. That’s why people often come to me with a question or two about the eccentricities of our government. Most of these questions are generally good-natured. Often they are about things like the healthcare reform bill, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or even simply who to vote for. However, there are the other questions: the conspiracy questions. I would now like to finally lay to rest some of the more ridiculous questions being asked today by debunking three particular conspiracy theories.

  • Was 9/11 an inside job? The best way to answer: scream NO at the top of my lungs. There is not one shred of evidence to suggest any government involvement in 9/11. In fact, the belief that it was some sort of inside job is a complete insult to those who lost their lives on that day, as well as the soldiers who gave their lives in the war that followed the attacks. Popular Mechanics published an excellent article that put every 9/11 conspiracy to the test and disproved them all.
  • Is President Obama an American citizen? YES! This is one of the more ridiculous ideas that has taken hold of some and become what is known as the “birther” movement. The main idea of this theory is that the President covered up his birth in a foreign country to get elected. This is nutty because the president’s certificate of birth is available online along with the announcement of his birth in a Honolulu newspaper all the way back in 1961. One would think if something like this were indeed true, the McCain Campaign, or the Clinton Campaign for that matter, would have looked into it. This insanity is particularly insulting because of its obvious racial undertones. The real logic behind the “birthers” is Barack Obama has a funny name and his skin is a different color, so he must not be one of us. Our president is a citizen of this country, and saying otherwise is an insult to him and degrades his historical achievement.
  • Who shot JFK? This is probably one of the more popular conspiracy theories. The truth is that Lee Harvey Oswald, and only Lee Harvey Oswald, shot President Kennedy. Oswald had the motive, as he despised Kennedy’s anti-communist actions. Oswald also had the capability, as he was a trained marksman in the Marine Corps. The events that day were the result of several actions, such as the presidential limousine’s top being left down and Secret Service agents being ordered to stand down.

Conspiracy theories are born out of our confusion. When something tragic like 9/11 or the assassination of JFK happens, people have trouble believing something simple caused it. It’s hard to accept that a small group of terrorists hijacked planes or that one man was able to kill a beloved leader like Kennedy. Instead, they try to rationalize the unthinkable by inventing vast conspiracies because that is easier than accepting that sometimes horrible things happen.